Computer Science vs. Computer Information Systems

PsydroxPsydrox Member Posts: 25 ■□□□□□□□□□
It has come down to the wire where I have to decide which bachelors degree I will be pursuing. Also, I have already decided I will be doing a graduate certificate in Cyber Security after my degree.

I do not think I want to code all day, I would be more interested in the management side of things (but surely you have to work your way up to management and do some coding too, but not as much as a developer right?) My math skills aren't AMAZING so I am a little scared of higher level calculus classes. My dream job in the cyber security field would probably be a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO).

Here's a quote from my university advisor when I asked her the difference between the two degrees at my school:

"When you look at the CS and CIS curricula, you will see that CIS has a Business Information Management minor and CS does not have a minor.
CS has a tougher math route : MATH 141, 142, 374, 241, and 5xx; where CIS only requires MATH 122 and MATH 174.

With the exception of 1 or 2 computing courses, there is no difference between the CS and CIS in computer courses. CIS has a CSCE 205 Business applications (COBOL programming) that CS does not have.
CS has a CSCE 355 and 330 that CIS does not have."

That e-mail is straight from the University of South Carolina advisement office. Which degree do you think would set me up better to pursue a better future, namely the path of a CISO?


  • jeremywatts2005jeremywatts2005 CySA,S+,A+,N+Cloud+,MSDFS,MSMISSM Member Posts: 346 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I would say CIS because that is usually more toward the business side. On the comp sci side that would lean usually more toward programming and engineering. However with little differences in the degrees none of this may even matter.
  • tedjamestedjames Scruffy-looking nerfherdr Member Posts: 1,179 ■■■■■■■■□□
    If you want to be a CISO eventually, the CIS degree is a good way to start. Eventually, like when you get out on the job, you'll want to think about earning certifications such as CISSP, CISM, CISA, and related.
  • Christian.Christian. Member Posts: 88 ■■■□□□□□□□
    C-suit positions rely more on politics than on your actual degree, the "who you know" and your soft-skills is what puts you there. I think a good initial approach is having a technical degree (any one of those will work) and if you can afford it, a master. Not one in cybersecurity (you can if you want, or CS), but an MBA will be more valued. That position requires you to deal with aspects of the business, the technical stuff is handled by the geeks all the way down to the bottom. That executive will manage vps, and they will manage directors, that manage senior managers, that manage managers, that manage the people actually doing stuff. Depending on how large the organization it can be a lot bigger.

    I think a great way is to use Linkedin. Just take a peak at different CISOs (or similar high-end positions) and check their credentials, what they were doing before, where they studied, their overall career progression. In general they have a regular bachelors, sometimes masters and/or certain certifications (pmp, cissp, cism, etc), but mainly is work experience as a manager for a lot of years and good contacts.
    CISSP | CCSM | CCSE | CCSA | CCNA Sec | CCNA | CCENT | Security+ | Linux+ | Project+ | A+ | LPIC1
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